A vibrant and compelling church vision for ministry is critical to reaching people in your community. It’s something we frequently mention. Over time, however, church leaders and attendees can lose touch with their church’s vision and become satisfied with—even attached to—the status quo. This can lead to stagnation in your church building and among your church leaders.

Recently, one of our free i3 webinars focused on how to create a strong church vision, including what happens when churches just maintain the status quo.

What’s Wrong with Being Comfortable in Your Church Building?

We all like things that make us comfortable, be they soft jeans, worn-in shoes, or a worship service that’s familiar and makes us feel at home. While there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with being comfortable, it can lead to complacency and stagnation. This is what happens when people are happy to show up, week after week, at your church building, expecting the same thing, over and over. Without a clear and compelling church vision, we become comfortable with the status quo and the church can stop growing in Christ.

What’s Wrong with the Status Quo?

The problem with the status quo is that it’s about “me.” In the words of Tom Rainer, Founder and CEO of Church Answers, “’It’s all about me’ is the anthem of the dying church.” It’s the song we sing when we don’t want anything to change. It can happen when we like our church building the way it is, for example, even if that church building appears outdated and doesn’t look inviting to potential guests who are seeking for community and meaning, and a way to connect with people on a Sunday morning. Unless church leaders and attendees can turn the focus outward, onto Christ and a community that’s hungry for Christ, Christianity won’t thrive.

What’s the Answer to an Effective Church Vision?

George Barna, founder of The Barna Group, a market research firm that specializes in studying the religious beliefs and behavior of Americans, as well as  the intersection of faith and culture, says that, “the things that got you where you are today will not be the things you need to get where you need to be tomorrow. In order for the American church to survive, it must reach into the community with outwardly focused ministries.” Rather than worrying about how to maintain what you currently have—in terms of church building and programs—you need to be reaching for something beyond what you currently have. That’s where a compelling church vision comes in.

There are many different types of church building examples around North America, ranging back over 200 years. But ministry has changed quite a bit over those 200 years and reaching people has changed a lot from when each old church building was built. This means there are a lot of facilities that speak to yesterday instead of representing the vision of a church for tomorrow that’s compelling and exciting. In order to bring guests into your church community, you need a rousing church vision, and a building that shares that vision, to draw them in.

In future articles, we will discuss the elements of a compelling church vision that can help your church to avoid stagnation. We know what works because we’ve been constructing church buildings for fifty years. Sign up today for our free i3 webinars, where we share more of the wisdom we have learned from that half-century of church design experience.